A 3-In-1 product/service accessible via the Mieringa easy to read materials in form of posters and sign posts(for teens and youth), audio information available through a toll free call platform and SMS services(for the elderly and those with access to phones) that help to reduce cases of unintended and early pregnancies and other SRHR services for young people between 13 to 17 years affected by conflict and those in refugee host communities. Available in Lugbara and English languages
Mieringa Girl Care Limited’s social mission is to reduce the number of early teenage pregnancy cases in the society through providing timely, convenient and confidential access to information about early teenage pregnancy.
It leverages low cost feature technologies that include SMS and IVR as well as easy to read materials in form of posters and sign posts to help young girls between the ages of 13 - 17 years to access information in local languages on early teenage pregnancies so that they are empowered to make informed choices on prevention. In Uganda, the teenage pregnancy rate is 24% with regional variations. This increases to 34% in the poorest households. In rural areas, 24% of girls experience early pregnancy compared to 16% of wealthier households and 21% of urban girls (UNICEF, 2015).
A 14 year old girl, who is in senior two leaving in Rhino camp settlement has a lot of difficulty in accessing convenient and confidential information about early teenage pregnancy. She fears to talk to her parents, teachers and community leaders about this issue. Currently, she can obtain this information from radio talk shows like Amazing life program on radio Pacis, posters and sensitization dialogues in her settlement, but if we provide her with convenient access to information and awareness through easy to read materials in form of posters and sign posts, audio information, toll free calls and free SMS’s, then we will observe reduced cases of early teenage pregnancies.
Progress and Results
The team had many test areas based on feedback from the end user
- Needs assessment on their 3-In-1 product/service- the ‘’Mieringa easy to read materials in form of posters and sign posts, audio information, toll free call and SMS services’’ They also sought to find out the usage preference between Audio information and Visual presentations among girls. From the experiment, the discovered that the young girls and their parents accessed information through radio station and workshops as well as magazines of which these platforms aren’t readily available and easily accessible by them
- Barriers that hinder access to information on the causes and prevention of early teenage pregnancies for young women: The experiment revealed that prevention of access to information about early teenage pregnancies by their parents is due to the poor attitude parents have towards this kind of information, religious beliefs, lack of time from parents to their young girls and ignorance from parents while for the girls, the barriers included poor cultural beliefs, the poor attitude village elders have towards this kind of information, and lack of support from government.
- The use of sign posts and charts in disseminating information on early teenage pregnancy: This experiment sought to discover whether young girls in the age brackets of (13-17 yrs) and parents pay attention to information presented on sign posts and posters. From the experiment, the team discovered that information presented on sign posts and posters reaches out to a large number of people and provides guidance to parents on what to speak to the young girls. The information presented also encourage the young girls to open up and begin speaking to their parents about themselves.
- Utilizing audio messages delivered through megaphones to foster young girls and parents to speak to themselves about early teenage pregnancy: From the previous experiment, as much as many people read sign posts and posters, there are those who rarely leave their homesteads. The audio messages intends to further spread the message on teen pregnancy deep through the available local council channels with the use of megaphones
Challenges and Lessons Learnt
From the study, there’s limited access to information about early teenage pregnancies across all levels due to the poor attitude that parents/elders/community members have towards this kind of information, religious beliefs, lack of time from parents/elders to talk their young girls and ignorance from parents/elders.